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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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Archive - Award Winners > The Ocean at the End of the Lane - November 2014

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message 1: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 5946 comments Mod
Fantasy Winner

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book Description
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯ (allykennedy) | 1002 comments I really wish this would be made into a Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki film. I loved this book. This month if I have time I'm going to reread it, but this time in audio format.


message 3: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 5946 comments Mod
I listened to the audio, which is narrated by Gaiman and it was good. I'm not a big Gaiman fan, but I thought this one was pretty interesting.


Colleen  | 138 comments This was my first Gaiman I read at this time last year. I haven't gotten to anymore of his but have seen some recommendations. This was good - different - but good. Like the imagery and story of the women, wish he would have gotten into them a bit more.


message 5: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 5946 comments Mod
I agree, Colleen. I would have liked to have heard more about their family and adventures.


message 6: by Jennifer (last edited Nov 02, 2014 06:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jennifer (featherlashes) I read this last year and enjoyed it. So delightfully dark - I just love Neil Gaiman!


Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 9 comments I read this earlier in the year. It was my first Neil Gaiman book. (But my not my first exposure - loved his Doctor Who episode!)

I loved this book - it made me cry! Not long after, I also read Neverwhere, which I also loved but it wasn't nearly as good as TOATEOTL.


Alissa Patrick (apatrick12211) I just started this book last night- its my first Gaiman book I've read (I tried the audio of Stardust.... yuck). I've heard good things about this novel, so fingers crossed!


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I absolutely loved this book. Gaiman is a master at creating fantastical whimsy.

I had only read Neverwhere before this year, but I read three more Gaiman books this year, including The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I have realized that I am a big fan.


Justin (rockstarintraining) Had anyone read American Gods? It's supposed to be his best, but I couldn't get into it. I am definitely part of the minority on this one, but wondering if it's worth revisiting.


Ashley (ashley37rose) | 1 comments I love Gaiman! I liked it. It definitely needs to be read more than once. (view spoiler)


Helen (helendes) I also really enjoyed this fantasy novel. I plan to read more by Gaiman


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments Justin, that has been on my TBR shelf for quite some time. Every time I think I am going to read it, I get wave of library holds that come in.


Justin (rockstarintraining) Yeah,Valerie, I may have hyped it up too much. It's much longer, too, so I just let it go. I like some of his shorter stuff though.


ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯ (allykennedy) | 1002 comments Justin wrote: "Had anyone read American Gods? It's supposed to be his best, but I couldn't get into it. I am definitely part of the minority on this one, but wondering if it's worth revisiting."

There were moments of brilliance but overall I wasn't that impressed.
I don't know if it would be worth revisiting for you, but I would never reread it - if that helps.


message 16: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 5946 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "Had anyone read American Gods? It's supposed to be his best, but I couldn't get into it. I am definitely part of the minority on this one, but wondering if it's worth revisiting."

I haven't read that one, but I've heard split reviews. Some people love it and others couldn't get into it.


message 17: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Mann | 278 comments Jennifer wrote: "I read this last year and enjoyed it. So delightfully dark - I just love Neil Gaiman!"

I enjoyed it as well. Would have liked more.


Clinton Moore What a wonderfully spooky atmosphere - somewhat reminiscent of Stephen King's "It". Horror through the eyes of children (and disbelieving adults). It's so disconcerting because it's so deeply relatable I think.

I particularly enjoyed the Ursula character and the juxtoposition of arch-evil villain (from the boy's perspective) yet just a flea to the Hempstocks.

Good book!


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

This was my first Neil Gaiman book. I found it charming and loved the imagery for the darkness. A very imaginative tale.


message 20: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Mann | 278 comments Julia wrote: "This was my first Neil Gaiman book. I found it charming and loved the imagery for the darkness. A very imaginative tale."

Well put. An imaginative tale.


Charlie (miss_charlie_d) | 32 comments This was my first Gaiman book as well, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

A friend of mine(an ardent Gaiman fan) told me that this was a metaphor for his experience with Scientology, which I found enlightening.


message 22: by Kathy (last edited Nov 17, 2014 10:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathy | 40 comments Years ago, I went through a Stephen King/Neil Gaiman phase. I read this Gaiman book, about 6 months ago, when looking for something different.

Firstly, I prefer King. Gaiman has a tendency to write explicit gore, and King has stopped doing that in his latter books.

Gaiman uses a lot of mythology from Gaelic & Norse mythos. I'm not a fan of Trolls, Elves, Goblins, etc. I do enjoy Fae mythos, but not much of anything else. This book was not a favorite of mine, but I did finish it, which is rare for me when I don't particularly like the author's style.

The story was just OK for me.

I don't know why, but King's novels appeal to me in a totally different way than Gaiman's. Perhaps, it's that King writes fantasy, with a touch of reality. After King's accident, his work improved greatly (he cut down on the gore). I can read anything of his, from that point forward, and I truly enjoy the reads.


Tracy Marie (whatawhimsicallife) I read this book about a year ago, and then let my father read it. He read it in no time, but didn't interpret the ending correctly in my opinion.

I really enjoyed the book, even though it was a little out there.


message 24: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 5946 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "Years ago, I went through a Stephen King/Neil Gaiman phase. I read this Gaiman book, about 6 months ago, when looking for something different.

Firstly, I prefer King. Gaiman has a tendency to wri..."


I think that King and Gaiman have completely different writing styles. I never would have thought to compare the two. I have to agree with you, I much prefer King's writing. I think Gaiman runs 2.5 - 3.5 stars for me. This one was ok for me 3.5, but I haven't read anything by him that I've really loved. I know a lot of other people that love his writing and that's just my personal preference.


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I am total opposite. I much prefer Gaiman to King, especially in his recent works.

I don't even include the two in the same genre. Gaiman is much more Urban Fantasy to King's horror.


Beachesnbooks I really liked this book--it was so dreamlike in how it was told. American Gods is one of my all-time favorites, but I can understand why people might not like it. The narrator's voice is very detached and that can be weird at times but I just love the story. The only Neil Gaiman book I haven't really liked so far was Stardust--I just wasn't that impressed with it.


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments I liked this book a lot. Didn't love it, but a solid 4 stars for me. It's just the right kind of spooky, dark horror that fascinates and scares me. It's smart in a way. I can't see a connection to King at all whose writing has no lyrical quality and is often not highly stimulating.
I only knew Gaiman's work for Doctor Who, but I'd like to read more of his. My only true complaint with this book is its shortness and thus lack of depth. Though in many ways that is exactly what evokes its almost magical fairy mood ...
The one book it reminds me off .. but more as in a male counterpart .. would be Pinol's Cold Skin.


Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Popping in to see all the comments. I loved this book!


message 29: by Nina (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nina (niisku80) | 10 comments I read this book last month, this was my first Gaiman. I'm not sure what to think about the book. The writing was good and it was an easy and quick read but don't know what to think of the story. It was part fairytail and part horror, all in all the story was weird in my oppinoin.


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